Pittsburgh schools seek 'visionary leader' for troubled Westinghouse

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Pittsburgh Public Schools is advertising for a "visionary leader" to become the new principal for the troubled Pittsburgh Westinghouse 6-12 in Homewood this fall.

On its website, the district is advertising for a candidate -- from inside or outside the district -- who "is a bold and dedicated educator who can help us to reshape our future."

"Clearly, we're going to be looking for someone who has a passion for working in an urban school district, working in an urban high school, a passion for meeting the needs of kids whose needs have not been adequately met in the past," Superintendent Linda Lane said.

Current principal Shemeca Crenshaw came to Westinghouse from Pittsburgh Weil PreK-5 in November when Ms. Lane sought her help after Westinghouse got off to a rocky start this school year.

She said Ms. Crenshaw does not want to return to Westinghouse in the fall but will help with the transition. Ms. Lane declined to say to which school Ms. Crenshaw will go.

Ms. Crenshaw, however, said she planned to reapply to lead Westinghouse.

Ms. Lane had nothing but kind words for her.

"I can't thank her enough for stepping in and doing the very best she could to help address some of the concerns we had," Ms. Lane said. "She's a trouper in my book."

In an effort to improve student achievement at the chronically low-achieving high school, the district closed the high school and opened a new school this school year with a 6-12 program, including single-gender classes.

But the school wasn't ready.

There was no master schedule, the curriculum had not been revised to fit the new schedule and discipline deteriorated.

Student schedules were changed repeatedly and ultimately the single-gender program was scrapped.

By November, the two co-principals who opened the school, Shawn McNeil and Kellie Abbott, were placed on administrative leave and replaced by Ms. Crenshaw.

Ms. Abbott became a curriculum coach at Pittsburgh Langley High School Feb. 1. Mr. McNeil is on a leave of absence.

Eleanor Chute: echute@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1955. First Published March 27, 2012 6:15 PM


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